Why buy a mobile robot?

You might be asking yourself, why buy a mobile robot?

The answer really lies in the application which you are are attempting to solve. Mobile robots primarily provide the opportunity to move material autonomously around a facility.

There are several key applications where mobile robots are finding success:

  • Warehouse & Logisitics
  • Lineside replenishment in manufacturing
  • Security
  • Hospitality
  • Retail & inventory management
  • Hospitals and healthcare

A virtual conveyor

In the simplest sense, mobile robots are like a virtual conveyor, capable of picking up material in one part of the facility and dropping it off at another part of the facility, all while navigating safely throughout the facility using the same existing work space as the humans.

Mobile robots are not cheap. The average system cost is in the range of $30K – $40K per unit. There will be additional costs to launch the first vehicle in a fleet. However, mobile robots can operate 24/7 and thus support multi-shift operations. This fact is key to the relatively quick return on investment (ROI) for mobile robot solutions. Additionally, there are several mobile robot vendors who are offering their solution in a subscription-like service model. This Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) business model can make the solution more affordable and enable the customer to pay for the solution out of operating budgets rather than capital expense budgets. In addition, the service level agreements in a RaaS agreement enable the solution provider to support elastic business needs by putting more mobile robot system onsite when the business needs demand it.

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Written by

Mike Oitzman

Mike Oitzman is Senior Editor of WTWH's Robotics Group, cohost of The Robot Report Podcast, and founder of the Mobile Robot Guide. Oitzman is a robotics industry veteran with 25-plus years of experience at various high-tech companies in the roles of marketing, sales and product management. He can be reached at moitzman@wtwhmedia.com.